TV room tour

All posts tagged TV room tour

TiVo...

Top, L to R: Clock, TiVo Roamio OTA, Roku N1000. Middle: DVD/VCR, infrequently used remotes.

Our cord-cutting arsenal:

Ooma Telo internet phone device

5 TVs: LED (2), plasma, flat-tube, ’83 CRT
TiVo Roamio OTA 4-tuner DVR
TiVo Mini extender (2)
Mohu Sky 60 powered outdoor antenna
Winegard FlatWave indoor antenna (2)

Roku streaming media player (3)
Chromecast streaming media player
Blu-ray player

TiVo “Peanut” remote (3)
Logitech Harmony 890 remote
X10 universal 5-in-1 learning remote.
Smartphone

Netflix & Amazon Prime subscriptions

Windows 7 PCs / free Plex &
Emby software to serve
music/TV/movie libraries.
Windows 7 PC / free Windows
Media Center DVR with
recordings on external drive.

Raspberry Pi computer w/ free OSMC, PleXBMC, & ServerWMC software
to access content on Win 7 PCs

X10 analog video sender / receiver
Powerline network adapter (4)
Gigabit Ethernet switch (2)
Kinovo HDMI switch
Powered USB hub (2)

(A list entitled “Our cord-cutting arsenal” appears at the bottom-right of this blog. It shows the hardware and software we use for all five of our TVs. But since you can’t tell which items are in each room, I am breaking it down by room, highlighting the hardware in light yellow, content in white. This is number 4 of 5 rooms.)

The den being my wife’s base of operations, it was critical to get it right.

Getting it right mostly entailed putting in a TiVo Roamio OTA with a good antenna. (See Cutting the TV cable with TiVo Roamio OTA and Mohu Sky 60 antenna review .)

Although there is a 1st generation Roku, it is hardly needed now that the Roamio has Netflix, Amazon Prime, VUDU, Plex, iHeart Radio and Pandora. The Roku does have a few channels I like in addition to the aforementioned.

Also rarely used now is a DVD/VCR combo. but it’s there.

Without a cable box, a clock was needed. I ordered this one: Gearonic LED Digital Cube Clock.

Other details of the final configuration:

In order to view the HD programming from the TiVo on our 2002 tube TV. which can only accept component input, an HDMI-to-component converter was needed. (See previous post, Replace the old TV?)

A gigabit switch connects the TiVo Minis in the kitchen and the theater room to the Roamio, using Ethernet cable. This is the switch that was a 5-port model until the lightning strike turned it into a 4-port.

Internet is provided by a Powerline adapter (also connected to the gigabit switch). It talks to its counterpart in the office where the modem is located. (See previous post Powerline vs. Ethernet wiring.)

X10 video sender

X10 video sender on the den TV

We still have an X10 sender hooked to the TiVo’s composite output. (See The workout room TV setup for my wife)

The TiVo’s Netflix & Amazon apps stream subscription content. Plex media server software running on our Windows 7 PCs with TV/movie libraries streams our own content to the TiVo’s Plex channel.

She uses the TiVo remote, and her iPhone to control X10 automation; I use the X10 universal 5-in-1 learning remote and an Android smartphone. (See previous post Den: wifi smartphone & learning remote.)

Coming soon to complete the tour: the theater room. Lots of stuff in there.

Our kitchen TiVo Mini

Our kitchen TiVo Mini, LG 24″ LED TV, TiVo remote.

Our cord-cutting arsenal:

Ooma Telo internet phone device

5 TVs: LED (2), plasma, flat-tube, ’83 CRT
TiVo Roamio OTA 4-tuner DVR
TiVo Mini extender (2)
Mohu Sky 60 powered outdoor antenna
Winegard FlatWave indoor antenna (2)

Roku streaming media player (3)
Chromecast streaming media player
Blu-ray player

TiVo “Peanut” remote (3)
Logitech Harmony 890 remote
X10 universal 5-in-1 learning remote.
Smartphone

Netflix & Amazon Prime subscriptions

Windows 7 PCs / free Plex &
Emby software to serve
music/TV/movie libraries.
Windows 7 PC / free Windows
Media Center DVR with
recordings on external drive.

Raspberry Pi computer w/ free OSMC, PleXBMC, & ServerWMC software
to access content on Win 7 PCs

X10 analog video sender / receiver
Powerline network adapter (4)
Gigabit Ethernet switch (2)
Kinovo HDMI switch
Powered USB hub (2)

(You may have seen the list entitled “Our cord-cutting arsenal” appearing at the bottom-right of this blog. It shows the hardware and software we use for all five of our TVs. But since you can’t tell which items are in each room, I will break it down by room, highlighting the hardware in light yellow.)

The kitchen is now a simple TV room. The TiVo Mini is responsible for that change.

Years ago, because of my wife’s need to watch “General Hospital” recordings while cooking, I put together a too-complicated Rube Goldberg setup. But it was either that, or renting a cable box with DVR dedicated to the kitchen.

She had to switch the den TV to VIDEO1, change its audio setting to SPEAKERS OFF, FIXED AUDIO OUT, and turn on the den X10 video sender. Then she could control the den cable DVR box via the kitchen X10 receiver’s IR extender. (The extender relayed the Cox remote’s commands to the sender, which converted them to pulses from its IR emitter, which was attached to the Cox cable box.)

Then she (or I) had to switch it all back to watch in the den.

Whew!

Since X10 is old analog technology, it looks best on a tube TV rather than a new flatscreen. We bought a new 13″ tube TV back in 2006 from Best Buy. The picture tube eventually faded, and it had to be whacked sometimes to make the sound work. The microwave fritzed the X10 radio frequency whenever it was used, so the TV had to be muted.

Not great, then barely serviceable.

Enter the TiVo Mini and a new LED TV.

Now all she has to do is turn on the new LED TV and the TiVo Mini, both with the kitchen-dedicated TiVo remote, and select episodes recorded on the TiVo Roamio in the den.

She is much happier now. The 13″ was carted back to Best Buy (Best Buy accepts 3 dead electronics items per day).

The outdated X10 technology still has a place, though: The workout room TV setup for my wife. The TiVo Roamio in the den even simplified it considerably.

(A few additional details from a slightly different angle in the earlier post The fruits of cord-cutting: new TVs, TiVo Mini.)

Two rooms to go: the den and the theater room.

32" LG LED TV, Winegard FlatWave indoor amplified antenna, Roku XDS

32″ LG LED TV, Winegard FlatWave indoor amplified antenna, Roku XDS.

Our cord-cutting arsenal:

Ooma Telo internet phone device

5 TVs: LED (2), plasma, flat-tube, ’83 CRT
TiVo Roamio OTA 4-tuner DVR
TiVo Mini extender (2)
Mohu Sky 60 powered outdoor antenna
Winegard FlatWave indoor antenna (2)

Roku streaming media player (3)
Chromecast streaming media player
Blu-ray player

TiVo “Peanut” remote (3)
Logitech Harmony 890 remote
X10 universal 5-in-1 learning remote.
Smartphone

Netflix & Amazon Prime subscriptions

Windows 7 PCs / free Plex &
Emby software to serve
music/TV/movie libraries.
Windows 7 PC / free Windows
Media Center DVR with
recordings on external drive.

Raspberry Pi computer w/ free OSMC, PleXBMC, & ServerWMC software
to access content on Win 7 PCs

X10 analog video sender / receiver
Powerline network adapter (4)
Gigabit Ethernet switch (2)
Kinovo HDMI switch
Powered USB hub (2)

(The list entitled “Our cord-cutting arsenal” appearing at the bottom-right of this blog shows the hardware and software we use for all five of our TVs. Since you can’t tell which items are in each room, I am breaking it down by room, highlighting the hardware used in light yellow, content in white.)

The bedroom is another simple room, hardware-wise (See previous post The workout room TV setup for my wife). The presence of the Roku box gives her access to other content via software.

After a freakish lightning strike, our 1989 20″ tube TV, no great shakes to start with, looked like it was on a bad trip, emitting weird green and purple colors. (See Lightning-pocalypse Saturday.)

Perhaps it could have been degaussed, but it was finally time to upgrade and simplify the setup. (See the old setup in Eliminate a cable box.)

The tube TV went to Best Buy along with the other stricken electronics. (See Best Buy accepts 3 dead electronics items per day)

It was replaced with a new 32″ LED TV.

Now that there was no need for a digital converter box, we could also dispense with the Logitech Harmony 650 remote and use only the new TV’s dedicated remote. A minor problem had been that the Harmony “thought” the old TV was still on after the sleep timer turned it off. Correcting it the next evening was a hassle for my sleepy wife, and therefore not a feather in my cap. (See previous post Logitech Harmony 650.)

We are using only an indoor antenna in the bedroom, rather than another TiVo Mini. A Mini would be great, but that would require us to get an Ethernet cable to the TiVo Roamio in the den. The only way to do that would be to wrap it around the house and add outlets in both rooms. Too much trouble for now.

However, the indoor antenna does well for all channels except RSUTV, which is not a sleeptime favorite, anyway.

The Roku box is now plugged into the new TV with one HDMI cable. When we want to use it, I pull its dedicated remote out of my bedside drawer.

We could watch anything on Netflix or Amazon using the Roku, though we don’t often do it.

But on Sunday nights, my wife sometimes likes to watch old English favorites such as “Keeping Up Appearances” or “Fawlty Towers”. This can be done by selecting the Plex or Emby channels on Roku. Either can stream the programs from one of our own Windows 7 PCs.

I had previously ripped the shows from DVDs and placed them on the PC in the proper file structure and naming convention. Plex and Emby servers running on that PC then were able to retrieve artwork for the Roku onscreen menu. (See Saving YouTubes, viewing with Plex & Emby.)

Why is Emby preferable to Plex for video content in the bedroom? Because we have a first generation Roku in there. The Plex channel app for that older device appears not to have been updated for their latest transcoder server software. Thus it delivers less than optimal video for files in the .mkv format (an .mkv file is the immediate product of MakeMKV, the DVD-ripping software I use).

Plex on the Roku XDS still works well with .mp4 video and .mp3 audio. If I weren’t so lazy, I would convert all those .mkv files to .mp4. But since the Emby app on Roku is doing a fine job handling .mkv transcoded by the Emby server software, why bother? A selling point of both Plex and Emby (though both are free) is supposed to be that they can handle a range of file types. (See 007 24/7 on Plex Media ServerMedia Browser: an alternative to Plex)

Someday we will probably upgrade the Roku box, but it’s not worth doing until another natural disaster strikes, or a newer device offers some extra functionality we want.

The Roku has had no problems with wifi, but I had an extra Powerline adapter on hand, so I am using it instead. Powerline uses your house’s AC wiring as a conduit for Ethernet data. It’s not as high bandwidth as Ethernet cable, but better than wifi for streaming data. See previous post Powerline vs. Ethernet wiring.)

Everybody’s happy now!

Or even the 70s

“8’s The Place” promo by Carl “Uncle Zeb” Bartholomew from the late 70s/early 80s.

Our cord-cutting arsenal:

Ooma Telo internet phone device

5 TVs: LED (2), plasma, flat-tube, ’83 CRT
TiVo Roamio OTA 4-tuner DVR
TiVo Mini extender (2)
Mohu Sky 60 powered outdoor antenna
Winegard FlatWave indoor antenna (2)

Roku streaming media player (3)
Chromecast streaming media player
Blu-ray player

TiVo “Peanut” remote (3)
Logitech Harmony 890 remote
X10 universal 5-in-1 learning remote.
Smartphone

Netflix & Amazon Prime subscriptions

Windows 7 PCs / free Plex &
Emby software to serve
music/TV/movie libraries.
Windows 7 PC / free Windows
Media Center DVR with
recordings on external drive.

Raspberry Pi computer w/ free OSMC, PleXBMC, & ServerWMC software
to access content on Win 7 PCs

X10 analog video sender / receiver
Powerline network adapter (4)
Gigabit Ethernet switch (2)
Kinovo HDMI switch
Powered USB hub (2)

You may have seen the list entitled “Our cord-cutting arsenal” appearing at the bottom-right of this blog. It shows the hardware and software we use for all five of our TVs. But since you can’t tell which items are in each room, I am breaking it down by room, highlighting the hardware used in light yellow, the content in white.

I’ll start with the workout room (a guest bedroom with a Bowflex in it).

It also has a 13″ 1983 analog tube TV with an X10 video receiver attached to it. That’s it, no antenna, no digital tuner.

It gets all its programming from the den TiVo Roamio via X10 video sender.

When my wife works out, she likes to catch up on recorded “General Hospital” episodes.

Here’s her simple setup:

  • Turn on the den X10 video sender.
  • Turn on the workout room TV.

She then controls the den TiVo Roamio with the free TiVo app on her phone, enabling her to watch her recorded shows or live TV, content from Netflix and Amazon via their TiVo apps, or our own TV/movie library via the Plex app!

The quality is as good as an old analog TV can deliver (surprisingly good).

I try to keep the sender off when not in use because it jams the crowded 2.4 GHz band used by older wifi routers; see previous post Conflict between Wifi, X10 video sender. The X10 receiver is always on. The TV is always on channel 3.

The TiVo’s composite output is hooked directly to the X10 sender.

(TiVo’s HDMI output is still hooked to COMPONENT1 on the den TV, via the HDFury Gamer 2 HDMI-to-component video converter. Read more about this in a previous post, Replace the old TV?)

This higher band, greater range 5.8GHZ Wireless AV Transmitter & Receiver is currently cheaper than our X10 sender/receiver pair. Neither requires wiring, both work best with an old tube TV.

If we had the house wired for internet, we could just stick another TiVo Mini in the workout room.

But this poor man’s Mini is perfectly adequate for our low time and attention usage in that room. (I usually listen to music or the radio while I work out.)

Later note: the above arrangement may seem a bit odd, but I got an email from a reader with a similar setup, so I’m not the only one!

The other four TV rooms to follow in future posts.

(PS, This is post #100!)